Blooming 'eck! Bluebells are burstin' out all over! Here's where to find your closest local bluebell woods when you're out on your daily dose of exercise.
You’ve got one walk a day, so best make it gorgeous! We’re so lucky to have an incredible number of bluebell woods in Dorset and Somerset and whilst, sadly, some are closed to the public this year, here are 12 of the best local places to get your fix of the little blue fellas during lockdown.
Goblin Combe, near Cleeve
Worth a visit for the name alone. Grasslands above and woodlands below (where you’ll find those blue flowers) in a limestone gorge. Great views across the Mendips too at this Avon Wildlife Trust reserve.
Long Wood, Cheddar
Ancient bluebell wood once owned by the mediaeval Witham Priory now under the custodianship of the Somerset Wildlife Trust, with an easy trail with stunning bluebells, orchids, anemones, wild garlic and a little stream.
Brockholes, along the South West Coast path, Exmoor
Six miles of rugged track and footpath (some narrow and exposed – eek) but it’s worth holding your nerve for amazing views across the Bristol Channel to the Brecon Beacons in Wales and the three valleys filled with bluebells and other flowers in amongst the gorse. And the brockholes? Ancient quarries.
Ladies Walk, Montacute
A short, semi-circular walk from a pathway alongside the village school, up through a hillside beech wood thronged with bluebells – you can just see the village and Elizabethan Montacute House through the trees – before heading down through a lane cutting deep through the hamstone back into Montacute.
King’s Castle Wood, near Wells
Combine bluebells and history – this Somerset Wildlife Trust nature reserve is on the site of an Iron Age hill fort, just a mile away from the centre of Wells – with views across to Glastonbury Tor and the Somerset Levels.
Thurlbear Woods, near Taunton
With its incredible variety of flowers, fungi and wildlife in an ancient woodland you won’t be surprised to discover this is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Secret glades, foot paths and a rookery, all there to discover.
Aller and Beer Woods, near Langport
One of the Somerset Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves, this ancient woodland along the western slope of Aller Hill is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), with oak and ash trees, wood-peckers, the odd deer, the rare star-shaped earthstar fungi as well as all those bluebells.
Greyfield Wood, near High Littleton
Once part of the Earl of Warwick’s hunting estate, then mined for coal, Greyfield Wood is one of Somerset’s largest ancient woodlands (now owned by the Woodland Trust) and a wonderful place to visit, with all kinds of wildlife (from voles to wild deer), a cascading waterfall – and fab bluebells. Take the footpath running south from the Greyfield Road out of High Littleton, about 10 miles from Bath.
Duncliffe Wood, Stour Row, nr Shaftesbury
Just three miles outside Shaftesbury, this huge Woodland Trust wood and (Site of Nature Conservation Interest) is famed for the bluebells on its steep slopes. The ancient wood appears in the Domesday Book, was once owned by Eton College and is said to have inspired Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders.
Fifehead Wood, Fifehead Magdalen, nr Gillingham
Another Woodland Trust site, with buzzards and woodpeckers to watch out for as well as the bluebells.
Champernhayes Woods, Wootton Fitzpaine, nr Lyme Regis
Also known, confusingly as Charmouth Forest and Wootton Hill, the bluebells grow in amongst the beech trees in the lower section of the woods. Take the circular walk and you’ll be rewarded with views of the sea.
Bulbarrow Hill, Woolland, nr Blandford Forum
Walk to the top of this chalk hill – one of the highest points in Dorset – for the bluebells and fab views across the Blackmore Vale and beyond to Somerset Wilts and Devon.
Have we missed any out?
Please let us know in the comments if there are any omissions!